11/29/2001 12:00AM

To catch a thief (or five or 11), go to Hollywood


Las Vegas was supposed to be hosting the premiere of the "Ocean's Eleven" remake next weekend, but as with many things since Sept. 11, plans have changed.

Instead, the remake of the Rat Pack's 1960 film will debut in Hollywood next Wednesday and then the producers and actors will fly to Turkey to show it to U.S. military personnel stationed in the Middle East. Vegas will survive without a major movie premiere.

For the uninitiated, the original starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford. Sinatra played Danny Ocean, who masterminds an attempt to rob the Sahara, Riviera, Flamingo, Sands, and Desert Inn on New Year's Eve.

As in the original, the vast majority of shooting was done on location. George Clooney (playing Danny Ocean), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts were seen all over town back in March and April. The modern-day crooks target hotels that didn't exist 40 years ago: MGM Grand, The Mirage, and Bellagio.

The robberies take place during a heavyweight title fight between Lennox Lewis and Vladimir Klitschko. (The two have never met in the ring for real.) The MGM Grand Garden Arena was the site of the fictional fight on April 5. At the time of filming, there was talk that Lewis might face Klitschko right around the film's release, but history will note that two weeks later (April 22) Lewis was knocked out by Hasim Rahman in South Africa and lost his title belts. Lewis's Hollywood hobnobbing was widely cited as the reason he wasn't focused in that bout.

The courts ordered that Rahman give Lewis a rematch, and Lewis regained his belts last month by knocking out Rahman. Klitschko is still on the outside looking in and Lewis is expected to face Mike Tyson in April. Oddly enough, the original script called for Lewis and Tyson to battle, but Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh thought Tyson's temper and antics were too risky and could jeopardize a shoot that included all the stars and an arena full of extras.

I don't know how Soderbergh's movie ends, but it won't be like the original, with the lead characters walking in front of the Sands. That hotel doesn't exist anymore.

Lewis-Rahman down the list

The Nov. 14 Lewis-Rahman fight had the ninth biggest gate in Nevada boxing history, according to figures released by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Paid attendance of 9,830 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center grossed $7,349,700 in ticket sales. No. 1 on the list was the Lewis-Evander Holyfield bout on Nov. 13, 1999, at the larger Thomas & Mack Center. Gross ticket sales were $16,860,300 on attendance of 17,078.

* While the major bouts are held these days at Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, and Caesars Palace, there are smaller hotels that host a lot of boxing, too: The Orleans, New Frontier, Hard Rock, The Regent, Paris, Stratosphere, plus occasional bouts under the Fremont Street Experience downtown. Add the Stardust to the mix. The Stardust hosts a six-fight card in its new pavilion Saturday night, headlined by Willie Stewart vs. Vitaly Kipitco. Ticket prices are $65, $40, and $20.

* The Las Vegas Bowl has landed two quality teams for its first game on Christmas Day, set for 12:30 p.m. and televised live by ABC. USC, which turned down an invite four years ago, and Utah have accepted invitations and should bring their share of fans. USC is coming off a blowout against UCLA, while Utah nearly upset BYU two weeks ago and is playing Air Force this Saturday in hopes of improving to 8-3. Las Vegas Bowl executive director Tina Kunzer-Murphy is hoping Utah doesn't stumble, which would hurt ticket sales.

* Terrible's Hotel-Casino on Flamingo, west of the Strip, celebrates its one-year anniversary Thursday. The locals casino will give away cake and champagne from 4-8 p.m., followed by a fireworks show.

Sports book notes

* The Rams are the 8-5 favorite to win the Super Bowl, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which supplies odds to Nevada sports books as well as to Caribbean books. The Raiders are the second choice at 5-2, followed by the Steelers (6-1), 49ers (7-1), Ravens and Packers (both 8-1) and the Dolphins, Eagles, Jets, and the surprising Bears (all at 10-1). The Bears opened the season at 100-1.

* People who bet the Wizards at 15-1 or less have to be feeling foolish because Michael Jordan's team is 4-10 with the third-worst record in the league However, the Wiz did knock off the 76ers on Wednesday night, so if you think this will turn their season around you can get them at 50-1. That's still very much a sucker bet.

Not surprisingly, the Lakers are the 7-5 favorite. They are 13-1 and showed their dominance with a 104-85 win over the Bucks on Tuesday night. The Spurs and Bucks are co-second choices at 6-1, followed by the 76ers and Bucks, both at 7-1.

* The Red Wings are 3-1 to win the Stanley Cup, and will probably be bet down further if they continue their dominating play. They're 21-3-1 and have been the biggest moneymaker by far for hockey bettors. The Flyers are 6-1, followed by the Devils and Blues at 7-1 and the Avalanche, Senators, and Maple Leafs at 8-1.

* The Yankees are a solid 5-2 choice to win the 2002 World Series, and those odds will probably drop if they land first baseman Jason Giambi. The Mariners and A's (whose odds will probably worsen if they lose Giambi) are both 5-1, followed by the defending champion Diamondbacks (7-1) and the Cardinals and Braves (both 8-1).